Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords to Begin Rehabilitation in Houston as Early as Friday

Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords will be moved to a hospital in Houston as early as Friday to begin rehabilitation after being shot through the brain 11 days ago.

"The congresswoman's family wants to ensure she receives the best rehabilitative care possible for her type of serious, penetrating brain injury," Dr. Michael Lemole, one of the congresswoman's neurosurgeons at Tucson's University Medical Center, says in a statement issued by Giffords' office.

"As a result, they considered facilities around the country, including rehabilitation hospitals in Washington, D.C., New York, Chicago, and Houston."

Doctors said earlier this week that being around family and friends will be an important part of her recovery. Giffords' husband, Commander Mark Kelly, is based in Houston, where he lives with his two daughters.

The hospital at which Giffords will be taken is the Institute for Rehabilitation and Research Memorial Hermann. In 2010, TIRR was ranked as the fifth-best hospital in the country for rehabilitation by U.S. News and World Report Magazine.

Kelly says in a statement:

"I am extremely hopeful at the signs of recovery that my wife has made since the shooting. The team of doctors and nurses at UMC has stabilized her to the point of being ready to move to the rehabilitation phase.

"Their goal -- and our goal -- has been to provide Gabby with the best care possible. It is for that reason that we have chosen to have her undergo rehabilitation at TIRR Memorial Hermann, which has a national reputation for treating serious penetrating brain injuries and is also in a community where I have family and a strong support network."

No day has been determined for her to go there, although, the Arizona Republic reports that Giffords could be moved as soon as Friday.

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James King
Contact: James King

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